Whether you are a part of a small church, large church, or even a multi-site church, you have a lot going on. It should come to no surprise that you, as a church communicator, are constantly on the go. Tasks you don't plan on come up all the time, and you're usually the one that is counted on to get the job done. Ooph!
But even though you work after hours, far too often, you're just not meeting your deadlines.
Here are 4 common reasons church communicators are not meeting deadlines and what you need to do to not be one of them.
1. You Are Reacting Rather Than Being Proactive
Things are always bound to come up. And usually quite unexpectedly. If that weren't enough, not only are you expected to drop what you're doing and deal with the surprise, but you're also required to get something together as soon as possible. (You probably hear and say the phrase ASAP all the time).
For example, maybe your children's ministry decides to have a fun water night next week, and needs to inform people to bring water guns. Now you have to consult your design team about a flyer or social media image within a day or two, or even create the design yourself. And, you have to figure out a way to promote it online, in print, and verbally all before next week.
Anytime a ministry decides to put on an event or project last minute, you find yourself in this position yet again. We get that you're not always in the loop when these things get decided and there are times when it's completely out of your control. But if there are people who need to be reminded of your minimum time requirement before requesting a project, this is the time.
What You Need To Do:
- Oftentimes, the ministry areas asking for last minute projects truly don't understand just how much time it takes. And if you tell them this, they'll probably say something like, "Oh, you mean it doesn't just take a couple of hours?"
- Let them know how much time a project really does take to complete. And if you have a minimum of 3 weeks' notice, reiterate it, and stick to it!
- Be a bit stricter about these requirements, at the very least, for your sanity.
2. You Are Micro-Managing
Oftentimes with churches, you have part-time staff or volunteers who might not know everything as well as you and miss a few details. This means you have to look more carefully at the projects they finish and find yourself re-doing a lot of it.
For instance, remember that time you asked that certain someone who seemed to have decent graphic design skills to whip up a flyer for the upcoming church picnic? While it looked great on the screen, the printed version had blurry photos. Instead of explaining the mistake to them, you took it upon yourself to use larger files for the photos instead of the JPEGs they had mistakenly used.
What You Need To Do:
- Even if it's a big time commitment right away, this is actually a good time to invest in better training for your staff and volunteers from the start. Investing the time at the beginning will save yourself tons of time and energy in the long-term when you no longer have to re-do stuff.
- Equip your volunteers to become leaders. This way, you'll have a whole army of reliable volunteers that you can count on to do a good job and do it right.
- Recognize why you micro-manage - maybe you're a bit of a control freak (it's okay to admit it!) and if this is the case, now is a good time to reflect on why you are this way and try to make some changes.
3. You Don't Have an Internal Request Process
You decided long ago that you wanted to use your communication skills to help further the mission of your church. You do everything you can to take good care of yourself, as all church communicators should, but if you don't have an internal request process, you are setting yourself up for failure when it comes to meeting deadlines.
Do you remember that time the pastor asked you to edit his blog post before the end of the day when you already had a zillion other things to get done? Doing it caused you to miss an important deadline on another project. You certainly don't want things like that to keep happening.
What You Need To Do:
- Perform a creativity audit of all of the things you offer as a communicator.
- Get input from your communications team of what your internal request form should look like.
- Discuss with those on the church staff who need your services how to go about placing an internal request.
4. You're Not Saying No
Possibly one of the most common issues among church communicators is that you're people-pleasers.You're the classic "Yes-man" among the church staff—you can always make the time to do something, right?
But suddenly those 5 "small" tasks you said yes to have eaten up so much of your time that it's affecting your other commitments.
Your church staff will understand if you can't get to it, especially if they brought it up out of nowhere. Here are ways you can say no:
- "I'm swamped, I wouldn't be able to get to it until next week. I'm sorry, but I simply can't."
- "I won't be able to, unfortunately. Since it's a last-minute project, I don't think I'll be able to do it as well as you need it, given the other commitments I have."
- "*Run the other direction*"
Totally kidding about those last 3 points, but you get what I mean. :)